Recent Mac OS 10.3 Panther Posts



May 11, 2005

10.3.9 killed my G5

If I could go back to 10.3.8 I would. I did not make a Carbon Copy Cloner image of my 10.3.8 hard drive, drat!

My system is very unstable. The SystemUIServer comes up as being hung right after a reboot most times. I get hung applications for no reason at all. And once I get one, more follow soon after. I have nothing to do but a hard reboot. Running Repair Permissions doesn't seem to help either.

Under 10.3.8 I could run my computer for weeks before I needed to reboot. Now I am rebooting more then once a day because of hung applications.

Funny enough, my friend Chris told me they had to back off 10.3.9 at CTLT because of similar problems. So it doesn't look like this is a isolated case.

I will be doing an Archive & Install of 10.4 soon, but I just do not have time to do that right now.

Very annoyed.

July 10, 2004

Panther Server, Lacie Hard Drives Installed

Just in time for Tiger Server, I have installed Panther Server at Student Publications. We bought a "Quicksilver" 733 Mhz G4 with 10.0 Server and I quickly updated it to 10.1 Server when it came out. Things have been busy, and since it has been working, I have not updated the server to Panther until now. I just got flipping tired of using 10.1 on our file server. I also saw the new admin tools in Panther Server (they are a major improvement).

Finding the time to upgrade the server is an entirely different matter entirely. Making the purchase was the easy step. You cannot (easily) take users and groups from 10.1 to 10.3 Server. I do not know why this is, but thats the way it is. No lost sleep here, I am simplifying user log ins anyways.

It is SO NICE to have Panther Server up and running for our file/print server.

Did you ever thing that a 1 TB (yes, terabyte) firewire drive would cost only $1200? That is a pretty good cost per MB price, isn't it. Well when we needed the drives Lacie was not selling their 1 TB drive yet, but they were selling their 500 GB drives. Same price, imagine that.

We were getting severely low on HD space. Throwing files out Friday to be able to work Monday. Not fun at all. We have 120 GB in the Quicksilver (10K RPM), and 2x120 GB external. You might think that would be enough space but when you have a dozen publications being produced at some point during the year plus Unigraphics, there are always space problems. But now Unigraphics has the room to really have their photo archive and graphics archive they really need to have online.

The next time we need another TB, I bet the price will come down by at least 1/3. Since I have so much file space to work with now, I am no longer backing up to AIT tape, I will probably be putting that up on eBay. It is alot nicer backing up to firewire, it is a lot faster for one. I recycled our two external 120 GB drives and they are now our backup drives. One of which can always be taken out of West Hall.

These 500 GB Lacie drives have Firewire 800 on them, and because of some voodoo magic that Lacie does with their firmware, these FW 800 drives are screaming fast compared to the competition. I didn't just go by the bar graph on the side of the box, I did some tests myself (I mean we have a 500 GB drive thats not really being used for much right now). Since we have a G5 for Production, I could test the drive with FW 800. I found a couple other FW 800 drives on campus to test against. Lacie FW 800 wins, hands down. They stripe the drives (its not really a 500 GB or 1 TB drive, they are smaller drives that once one gets filled up, it goes to the next HD and fills that one up. Whatever Lacie is doing it is nice.)

Needless to say I ordered a FW 800 PCI card ($50) for our Quicksilver and the speed over the network is well worth the $50 of that FW 800 card.

Panther Server is so much faster then 10.1 Server was, and now we have breathing room on the file space front. *phew*

March 19, 2004

Panther on a 366 Mhz iBook

Do you remember the original iBook? The "clam shell" or "toilet seat" iBook, as some people called it. I just installed Panther on a 366 Mhz iBook, the first in the line to have a FireWire port. It has 320 MB of RAM, and I am impressed. In comparison I have ran 10.1, and 10.2 on a 300 Mhz iMac. I have not seen 10.3 on a slow processor yet. And I am very impressed. It is very responsive, even without turning off the drop shadow (ShadowKiller, Unsanity, free). The Finder is very responsive. The only thing that takes forever is the pre-binding process ("Optimizing System") after software updates - this is like watching grass grow.

January 24, 2004

I Love/Hate Panther Mail

In 10.2 Mail, the only AppleScripts you could run were found in the system wide Script Menu (and that is only if you decide to "install" it) In Panther Mail, as in Panther's Address Book, there is a Script Menu next to the Window Menu. Handy huh? Panther Mail's AppleScript Dictionary is also even bigger then 10.2's Mail. Mail Scripts 2.0 (now final) are great additions to Mail's Script Menu. You should check them out if you have not already. Mail's Junk Mail Filter has grown a lot since 10.2. Although I highly encourage you to turn if off, and install POPFile or SpamSieve. Both of these products do a much better job at classifying the SPAM then Mail's Junk Mail Filter, it is ineffective in comparison to POPFile or SpamSieve. Mail might be bayesian, but it is of another flavor of bayesian. I personally think Apple should buy Michael Tsai's SpamSieve and incorporate it into Mail. But, if you do not want to install any 3rd party software to handle junk mail, at least use the Junk Mail Filter. Panther Mail adds a "trust junk mail headers" check box, which, BTW, can be manually added as a rule, if you know what the junk mail header looks like. But as Apple is great at making things easier to use, you now have that check box. Panther Mail also allows you to use your Address Book as a whitelist, meaning address in your Address Book are never spam. This can be hazardous in some cases, and I would be weary of using this option. Being able to block the loading of images is a huge improvement, and a very nice feature of any email client. As I said earlier, the Organize by Thread feature is wonderful. Being able to forward an entire thread is also cool. I know both Eudora and Mozilla Mail (all flavors, such as Thunderbird) will show a thread, it is nice that now Mail has this capability. Saving attachments out of Panther Mail seems a lot nicer. You can now save all items at once, instead of getting a save dialog per item. Since Panther has built in .zip processing, zipped documents are unzipped when saved from an email. I cannot remember if Jaguar Mail had a Previous Recipients window (in the Window Menu), wonderful to be able to add those to your Address Book. One thing I do not understand is the number label on the Mail icon (in the Dock and App Switcher). It only shows the number of new emails in your inbox. I want it to show me all my new mail, including the ones I filter into my other folders. I figured by the 3rd major revision of Mail that would be changed, but it still has not been. I am sure I am not the only person that filters incoming mail to another folder. Apple needs to beef up Mail's rules. I should be able to specify more then one action to take. Entourage does this, I am pretty sure Eudora does this, and I have no doubt that Bare Bones's Mail Smith does this as well. What I mean is I should be able to filter emails with a subject of "Delivery Status Notification" and move it to the trash, and make the subject line red. Currently I can do one of the two, not both. If you could perform multiple actions in one rule, SpamSieve would work even better in Mail. Weak filtering and weird (IMO) notification number labeling are not reasons for me to go to any of the other email client. I have moved from pine to Eudora to Entourage to Mail and I am not moving on any time soon. I seriously looked at Mail Smith but then decided I just liked the UI of Mail more.

December 11, 2003

Forward Message Thread in Panther Mail

threaded.jpgOne of the great new features of Panther Mail is the new threaded feature, which will show all related messages in a threaded format. Threaded emails is by far the best new features in Panther Mail. One thing I did not know you could do is forward an entire thread. Just select the Thread Summary page (the one with the expand carrot on the left) and then click the forward button. It puts all the forwards into one email, one right after another, separated by Begin forwarded message!

November 30, 2003

Internet Preferences in Panther

Where are Internet Preferences? Several users have noticed that the Internet Preferences pane in System Preferences no longer exists in Mac OS X 10.3. In order to set a different browser application, you will have to open Safari and go to the "General" pane in the application preferences. In order to set a different mail application, you will have to open Apple's Mail.app and go to the same "General" pane in menu Mail > Preferences. Does this not sound like a Microsoft thing to do? I mean M$ had to add the ability to change the defaults in SP1 of XP. What if I want to use Mozilla for my default web browser? I have to open Safari to change that preference. What if I decide I want to use Mail Smith for Entourage for email? I have to go into Mail to change that preferences. These settings were in the correct spot in Jaguar, in the System Preferences. They need to return.

November 17, 2003

Palm Problem in Panther Persists - Fixed

I am (now) a very happy camper. I just got off the phone with a level 2 tech. from Palm. They are now saying that Palm Desktop and HotSync will work in Panther. Earlier reports on MacFixIt stated otherwise. This tech. (Barbara D.) stated that just recently (last few days) Palm now officially supports Panther! First she had me update to the latest version of Stuffit, 8.0.1. Then she had me download this file from Aladdin's Tech site. Dropping the Palm Desktop 4.1 installer onto this applet fixes some permissions. I then installed PD 4.1 and tried to sync. No go. Then she asked if I have a Palm keyboard. Well yes I do. This is the root of my problems. Here is the lesson folks: You have to disable the keyboard, and do a soft reset, before you sync to a Mac. This problem does not exist on the PC. I was told that the Palm does not communicate fast enough with the Mac. Whatever that means, I do not care, because now I can sync, and I can do it in Panther! I am very happy with Palm Tech. support, but then I always have been.

November 14, 2003

Palm After Panther

I really wish that Palm would release a Panther fix for HotSync'ing. It is really annoying not being able to sync in Panther. Until then I have installed Jaguar on a FireWire drive. I installed Palm Desktop 4.1, then went to install the iSync Palm Conduit only to find out I did not have iSync installed. I download iSync, only to find out that I need iCal 1.5.1 installed first.... So now I finally have everything installed in Jaguar. Now it is time to install the things I wanted to install but could not because of Panther. Mainly ZLauncher and FileMaker Mobile. But before I do that I need to install the Tungsten T3 ROM update. The ROM update whipes the entire PDA, of course. Palm also says to format any SD cards too. So now I go and backup the stuff on my SD card. Oh, yea, I forgot to mention. I got rid of my T2 shortly after buying it and got a T3. I just could not resist. and fell to temptation. If you were not aware I am a spoiled little bitch, after all (at least that is what Jake keeps calling me). I have got to do something with that domain yet, I just have not had the time. The T3 ROM update went fine, I have not noticed much of a difference. And I must say that ZLauncher is one fine launcher. I used to use HandScape Pro, but it does not even support the resolution of the Tungsten, much less the T3. ZLauncher looks great on the T3.

November 12, 2003

Risks of Panther Access Changes

Last week (and in our Panther Special Report) we covered the change in Panther that lets any administrative user move, or even delete, important system-level files by simply authenticating (providing their admin account password) when trying to perform the action. What we didn't cover at the time is the fact that what is actually happening "behind the scenes" is that you are actually using the Unix sudo command -- a way to temporarily perform actions with root-level access -- to execute the desired action. Why this is important is that the sudo command has a built in timer: once you've authenticated, it provides you with that root-level access for five minutes (by default). So after you've first authenticated, subsequent actions -- even dangerous ones that could render OS X inoperable -- can be performed without requiring you to authenticate again. Obviously, this could result in a messy situation. However, at least you're aware that you've authenticated, so you know to be careful what you do for the next five minutes or so. The real danger of this "feature" -- as pointed out to us by Chris Breen, Macworld Magazine's 911 columnist -- is that when an admin-level user logs in, the act of logging in itself constitutes an authentication. In other words, for the first five minutes after logging in, you have root-level access and you probably aren't even aware of it. You can move or delete system-level files without being warned and without being prompted to authenticate -- it just works. After those first five minutes are up, you resume your normal level of access. As Chris pointed out, these first five minutes can be quite risky: "I've confirmed this by dragging my System folder to the Trash. And no, I couldn't get it out again without booting into Mac OS 9 and recovering it from the .Trashes file." We would add that sometimes people accidentally delete files -- using the command+delete keyboard combination in Mac OS X's column view sometimes makes it easy to delete an enclosing folder rather than the sub-folder you actually wanted to delete. In fact, Chris makes another good point about the risks of this situation: "Although some may argue that this is perfectly acceptable because you shouldn't be an Admin if you don't know what you're doing, bear in mind that any new Mac owner -- your aged Aunt who's upgrading from her trusty Performa -- is an Admin."
Source: MacFixIt This new "feature" is for convenience, but in the long run I do not see what its purpose is for. It does not safeguard people from deleting things they do not know are critical for the system to function. This was a bad choice, IMO, on Apple's part to include in Panther. The fact that you are blessed with root privs for 5 minutes after login is also unacceptable for the most part. I say for the most part because I myself know what root is. There is a small portion of the Mac OS X crowd who know, and understand what root is, and how to (not) use it. Being able to delete a file that is being belligerent is a nice "feature" but I do not think it should have been included in Panther for the reason Chris Breen described above. I know why a file will not delete when I tell it to, it is because I do not have the access privs. to delete it. There are usually reasons why I don't have privs. to delete it. The only reason I like this feature is because I know and understand why I am being asked for my admin password when I try and delete a file and I am prompted for this info. Most people do not. Also posted at BlogCritics.

October 30, 2003

Panther Weblog

Check this blog out! It already has some cool tips on it. And more have been added as I type this post. I put it in my blogroll, so check back regularly.

October 29, 2003

AppleTalk in Panther

This is my biggest gripe about Panther. I could not browse all the AppleTalk zones on campus. Today I found the answer at MacFixIt, which is such a great site for issues like this.
MacFixIt reader Matthew Kelly points out one reason many users are unable to see AppleTalk volumes in the "Network" browser: installing Panther evidently disables AppleTalk in Directory Services. To enable AppleTalk, open the Directory Access utility (in /Applications/Utilities) and enable AppleTalk. (You should also make sure that you've enabled AppleTalk for the network port over which you access your local network.)
Shazam! It worked! Now why in the world does Panther install with AppleTalk turned off? Are they trying give us all a hint? I am sure they are. Apple does not want people using AppleTalk any more. One of the biggest changes in the jump to Mac OS X was using TCP/IP as the basis for networking, not AppleTalk. Mac OS 9 actually started doing this, but not to the extent at which OS X uses it. I would have to agree too, TCP/IP is used by the rest of the world. But to turn AppleTalk off completely in Panther? Why? Our university still uses AppleTalk, and I am sure there are a lot of other places, besides educational institutions that still use AppleTalk as well. Also posted at BlogCritics.

October 28, 2003

The Panther Roars (in Pain)

"The failure to back up my iBook before a major overhaul like Panther is a nitwit mistake, one paid for by a weekend's worth of troubleshooting -- most of it blind blundering about -- trying to fix it. Luckily, Panther was eventually installed and the files saved. And, I'm delighted to say, so far it's been worth all the pain it caused." Source: WIRED

WindowShade X Panther Update; Squash the Developer

WindowShade X, by Unsanity, falls under the "and why is this not part of the OS?" discussion. But, I am very glad the folks at Unsanity took the time to develop such a nice app. It costs $10 (it was $7 when I bought it) and is worth every penny. And they have never asked for an upgrade fee. WindowShade X is by far one of the top 5 pieces of shareware on Mac OS X, IMO. It started as a simple mimic of the OS 9 Window Shade feature. It has blossomed into much then that. I was content with the simple Window Shade behavior (collapse the window into the title bar) but now you can do many more things, such as collapse a window into a thumbnail version (called Minimize-in-Place), which you can drag around the screen, for example. The best new(ish) feature in WindowShade X is being able to WindowShade a window by twice pressing the Command or Control key. I have used WindowShade X since it first was released mainly because I do not like the behavior of minimizing windows in the Dock. And to be honest I am shocked that Apple has not incorporated this feature into OS X yet, I mean they have clearly stepped on so many other shareware developer's shoes in the past. Can you say Watson? The latest instence of this happening is with LiteSwitch X, which the new Application Switcher looks like, a lot. Labels X (also by Unsanity) is no longer needed either. On this issue I am sitting on the fence. I would much rather have these types of features built into the OS then have to run 3rd party prefPane's, hacks, and apps to get the same effect. Sure, Sherlock 3 is not as fast as Watson, and does not have ALL the modules of Watson, but I do not have to pay for it. Paying for Labels X is something you should not have to do. Paying for WindowShade X is something you should not have to do. Paying for LiteSwitch X is something you should not have to do. I could go on and on here, there are other shareware apps that have been incorporated into the 10.1, 10.2, and 10.3 releases of OS X. WindowShade is still a feature not incorporated into OS X. I think it is only a matter of time. On the other side (of the fence) you have shareware developers who in many cases have far superior products. That is what makes it worth the cost, as well as the fact that it is "missing" from OS X. Much of the shareware for OS X is there because it is "missing" from the OS. I am sure that if Apple incorporated the WindowShade feature into an OS X update, it would not be as nice as WindowShade X by Unsanity. Sherlock 3 is not anywhere near as nice as Watson (yes, I am a Watson owner). Another good example, and please excuse the plug, but Path Finder is a much richer Finder experience IMO (I help with the development of Path Finder). So in that vein I do not think Apple should step on the toes of the very loyal developer community. And it looks like that happens all to often. Also posted at BlogCritics.

Palm Problems in Panther, Part 2

I called Palm about this Panther Problem(tm). The tech. said they do not support Panther yet. So the wishy washy reports of people both being able to use, and not use HotSync are not even open to discussion with the Palm techs. When I started using Panther, HotSync worked. Now its a no go. I was smart enough to make a backup of my 10.2.8 drive though, thanks to Carbon Copy Cloner. I now have that running on one of my bus powered FireWire drives, and am using that to sync my Palm. For the time being I am only concerned about sync'ing my FileMaker Pro files. So this will do. Lets hope that Palm has a Panther Solution(tm) soon!

October 27, 2003

Panther Install On Our G5

I had the exact same problems with Macromedia Studio MX 2004 on our G5 at work. This seems to be a well documented issue on Macromedia Forums as well as on MacFixIt. The way I fixed it on my PowerBook was to reinstall the entire Macromedia Suite. I will get to that later, I do not have time to do that now. Getting Quark 6 and Quark License Administrator working again was actually not that hard. And for the second time in a row I got nice tech. support from Quark! This is amazing, as even their sales staff has a history of being nasty on the phone. Yea, we finally got Quark 6 in. It only took them 3 days after I called them back. I ordered it a good 2 months ago, and wondered where the hell it was. When I called back the sales person said our order was in as a quote and not an actual purchase. Morons. I guess they do not want our money. I will never understand that company. But like I said I have gotten good tech. support the last two times I called (both related to Quark License Administrator.) Quark 6 comes with no printed manuals, just like Macromedia Studio MX 2004. What the heck is going on here? What happened to printed manuals? I'm sorry but I burn my eye balls out enough as it is, I prefer to look at a physical book when I want help with my software. After upgrading to Panther, I had to reinstall QuarkXPress Components, which resides in the "For System" folder in the Quark 6 folder. These are shared library files. Interestingly enough this is the exact same problem with Palm syncing. Quark License Administrator works in Panther no problems. I just had to re-add it to the startup items. Since it has taken Quark 2+ years to get a Mac OS X version out it is nice that it actually works in Panther.

Apple Student Discount

A friend of mine, Jill, went to the Apple Store in Columbus this weekend to buy Panther. She had her Student ID card, but they would not sell her Panther at the student rate. Saying that she would have to buy it from the Online Apple Store. Does that make sense? So they will believe you if you go to the Apple Store for Education online, but they will not accept an actual Student ID in person? That is a crock.

Palm Problems in Panther

After installing Panther and restarting you will see this error message if you have Palm Desktop installed. MacFixIt has a report on this as well. You need to take Transport Monitor out of your login items. Reinstall Palm Desktop 4.1 (which may or may not work, I have found this to be rather iffy). I was about to sync my Palm fine until yesterday. Now I cannot sync at all. I have read that if I copy my support files from Jaguar it will work. I have also read that that solution has not worked for some. It is basicly a crap shoot. And there is no word from Palm as of yet. I am trying to call their tech. support but I keep getting a 15 minute wait time.

October 24, 2003

Panther First Impressions; 6 New Time Saving Features

Before I installed Panther I used my .Mac account to iSync all my important stuff. I really like having a .Mac account. That is a separate post in itself though (I got a .Mac account when I got my new PowerBook). I performed a archive and install of Panther. It is now up to 3 discs, plus the developer tools CD. I just performed a clean install of Jaguar a week ago so I don't even have my Palm sync'ing software installed or anything. Archive and install just means I don't have to go through the setup and account creation process. For some reason I had to reinstall Dreamweaver MX 2004. I found out in doing this about the new online licensing scheme Macromedia uses. I had to call Macromedia to be able to install DW again, and the tech. told me how to "release" the license from my computer. How fun. I will have to post about this later. None of my other software needed reinstalling. As a matter of fact all of my other software worked just great. This is more then I can say about when I first installed Jaguar. I remember a good half dozen of my apps not working and needing updates to work in Jaguar. Apple has been doing better lately about breaking applications on their dot dot releases, and it is nice to see the Panther install did not break any apps. (Dreamweaver MX 2004 works just fine after I reinstalled it.) I installed the Palm Desktop software, and the iSync Conduit, and my Tungsten T2 sync'd just fine. There is one feature of Panther you will not see on the Mac OS X page of Apple.com that I am so happy about. I would have to say it is the best new features of Panther. To appreciate this, you have to appreciate the Save dialog box in Windows. I know, this might be a stretch for some, but stay with me here. In a Windows save dialog if you want to save over a file you select the file name, and your "untitled.gif" or whatever becomes the name of the file you wish to overwrite. So far, on the Mac OS, you have to type the name, exactly, then Save and click Replace. It has always been far easier in Windows to just click the name of the file, click Save, and click Replace. This is one thing I have never understood about the Mac OS. I am glad to say that you can now do this same thing in Panther. The files are grayed out, but if you click on a file name in the Save Dialog, your "untitled" document will change to the file you want to overwrite. I cannot express how much of a time saver this is, not to have to type the name of the document I want to overwrite. This is such a time saver, especially when creating GIF or JPEG files for a web site. Now if the Finder windows could get resize handles like the Explorer in Windows. Maybe in 10.4. Beyond the other very nice features of Panther, that new Save behavior in Panther is one of my top 5 new features I see in Panther. Why? Because it is a time saver. Another top 5 feature for Panther is the new Open/Save Dialog which is thanks to the new Finder. I never quite understood why in OS 9 you had List View in the Open/Save Dialog, and when we came to OS X only Column view was available. Panther adds to the ability to use List View to also the new Places column on the left, something the Finder has needed for a while now. This is, of course, a reoccurring question of mine: Why is it that major new features in 10.1, 10.2, and now 10.3 are all features that I had grown very used to using in Mac OS 9. For Panther, we now have Labels support again (of course this meta data was always there, the OS X Finder just did not recognize it. If you used Labels X from Unsanity or the wonderful Finder replacement Path Finder from CocoaTech you could still see all your Labels and continue on with your normal Labeled world). In earlier versions of OS X, Apple made it impossible for 3rd party software to use the Command+Tab keyboard shortcut. So to get anything close to the new "Heads Up Application Switcher" in Panther, you needed to use, say, the Shift Key as well, so Shift+Command+Tab. I never understood this. But Panther does now have a very nice way to switch applications. Once again, a feature that Windows has had for eons. It is about time OS X had this. This new Application Switcher is another one of the best Panther additions because it saves time, Switching applications using the Dock (a la Jaguar) was not the best solution. Printing is much improved in Panther, even more so then the huge improvements in Jaguar. I have an HP 6127 ink jet printer. In Jaguar I could not perform all the calibration and maintenance tasks I could, in say, OS 9. Not even after installing the HP DeskJet software in Jaguar. After installing Panther, with no additional HP software, I am able to do all the maintenance tasks, settings, calibrations, etc, for my Printer. There is even a button in the Printer UI to bring up the printer's web based interface. This is very nice. Expose is also such a nice time saving feature, it is on my list of the top features of Panther. The really great thing is being able to set the fn key on the laptops to show All Windows. I don't use the fn key for anything else, so being able to set it is great (Since to use a F Key on a laptop you have to use the fn key anyways). So that turns out to be six. So my top six features of Panther are, in no particular order: Save Dialog Enhancements New Finder/New Open/Save Dialog Labels Application Switcher Printing Expose My only complaint with Panther is AppleShare. Connecting to our AppleTalk network on campus is something of a mystery to me in Panther. Our University has over 100 AppleTalk zones setup. In Panther I cannot for the life of me figure out how to get to them. I can see our root AppleTalk domains, such as bgsu.edu and cs.bgsu.edu, and SMB shares in the area, but I do not see the long list of AppleTalk zones we have on campus. If I want to get to our Student Publications server, which is physically sitting next to me right now, I cannot find it in the Network window of the Finder, even though it is the current AppleTalk zone. I have to connect to it using its DNS name or IP address. I just do not understand this at all, and am not happy with it at all. There are so many more improvements in Panther that I want to write about, but not in this article. There are enhancements all around the System Preferences, Mail is a lot nicer. I will have a forthcoming article on other improvements that I find helpful. But for now, I will dig for more new time saving features. Also posted at BlogCritics. I posted this at Macworld's Forums and got a lot of responses.

October 22, 2003

Panther Shipped Today

I just got notification that Panther shipped. I pre-ordered it from the Apple Education Store ($69.99) the day it was available on the site. I was hoping that I would receive Panther on the 24th and it looks like I will. I wondered (as did others) if Apple would ship on the 24th or if they actually meant that we would get our orders. Nice. It looks like we get our orders on the 24th. I just checked and the FedEx web site says I will have it by 4:30 on the 24th ;) I can't wait to get my hands on it. I have a lot of things I have been wanting to post about but want to wait to confirm them for myself. I would like to take this moment to discuss the price of "upgrading" Mac OS X. To all those people who bitch and complain about the $129 ($69 educational) price - put a sock in it. Want some cheese for your whine? The move to Jaguar was huge, and the move to Panther is also very large. The amount of new features, not to mention the speed improvements thanks to the reworked text rendering engine (I have read reports of Panther betas running much much smoother on G3 systems then Jaguar ever did) is worth the price of the upgrade. If I did not work in Academia I would pay the $129, it just so happens that I work for a university. I just cannot get over the amount of bickering related to the price of upgrading the OS. Its ridiculous. Also posted at BlogCritics.

July 20, 2003

Panther's TextEdit opens Word .docs

Yea. This RULES. From Slashdot and Macslash. Anytime I can avoid using/installing Office, I will. OpenOffice and ThinkFree Office are excellent M$ Office alternatives (so is AppleWorks BTW, though no one uses that anymore for some reason).

July 11, 2003

10.3 Preview Hands On

I had the opportunity to use the 10.3 WWDC Preview and "Panther" looks like it is going to be a very nice update. I will add my first impressions to this post later today. I have been told the text rendering engine was overhauled and that accounts for things in the UI being faster. The following is what I have seen in the short time I had. I am not going to go into detail. If you are not familiar with Mac OS X then you might not get the full breadth of what I am saying or why I am saying it. One thing that needs to be said is this is a preview of Panther. There are parts of it that are not finished yet, and, well, that is most of it. As with any beta seed of the OS there are things that do not work as they should, or as you think they should. So just take this with a grain of salt and don't dwell on anything negative becuase 9 times out of 10 things are going to change a lot between now and the release. This is all free fromed rambling about features that catch my eye. If you don't like such a frantic format, well, tuff!

Continue reading "10.3 Preview Hands On" »

July 10, 2003

Article and Screens from Panther (10.3)

A look at the Finder and System, Part One (Part Two, Part Three). This is an article and bunch of screen shots from Think Secret. I especially like how they are handling labels in Column view. This was the one thing I was worried about about the new implementation of Labels in OS X.

July 5, 2003

OS X 10.3 Panther Visual Tour

Did I ever tell you I hate frames (this site uses frames, and instead of giving you naviation directions to this file I just linked to the page)? Anyway, check out this page. Lots of good stuff to drool over. A couple things I noticed that I believe are good improvements to the UI: Up until now there has been no sperater line ala OS 9 in menus, OS X just had a "blank" menu item. These blank spots made the menus even longer then they needed to be. The addition of the lines back into the menus is nice. Tabs are gone! I can't believe that. They no longer float above the window. It looks like Apple finally put a MOM (Microsoft Office Manager from Office 2001) like application switcher into 10.3. Windows has had this since forever. One thing I cannot stand is command tabbing through the open apps in the Dock, its just not the place to cycle through your open apps. And I guess Apple got enough complaints about that (they got mine). In addition to the Charector Palette there is now a Key Caps and Japanese Palette in the Input Menu. These charector palettes are very handy if you even know they are there (hint hint nudge nudge to you designers). The new Keyboard Shortcuts section of the new combined Keyboard & Mouse preference pane is nice. You can now change all those shortcuts easily. Expose is really gonna rock! Wow the System Profile app has been totally revamped. And if it is faster that is even better! All in all I like the GUI changes in Panther. I for one cannot wait.

June 24, 2003

Improvements in Panther

The improvements to Panther are pretty nice. Some seem noveltys and some seem way to late to the table. Safari 1.0 - Its about time. Making Safari the default browser in 10.3 makes sense. Putting out a SDK for it makes even more sense. I have heard from developers that the HTML rendering in 10.2 is lacking. Exposé - Now this is something that is beyond Command+H. This really takes window management to an entirely new level. Fast User Switching - Its about time. It looks like it works well. I was talking to a buddy of mine, Eric, about how OS X needs to have a multiple desktop enviroment like this new fast user switching works. At first thought it might work using a "Work" user and a "Play" user and a "Code" user etc. to have different desktops. But they you have to think about user permissions and preferences. Font Book - Its about time. When Adobe said "No ATM for you!" when OS X came out Apple should have seen the crying coming. Also with a zillion and one places to store fonts, thats just confusing, even to the people who understand what a network font folder is. Not only that but here is some functionality that OS 9 had that OS X did not (a gripe all too common, and rightly so). In OS 9 if you double clicked on a font you could preview it. That does not exist nativly in 10.2. Font Book provides this and more. Finder Labels - Its about time. There are however better solutions out now. Labels X from Unsanity and Path Finder both offer the traditional colored folder idea from OS 9. I am not sold on the color the folder name thing. But then I have not played with this 10.3 beta yet. It doesnt matter, labels are back in OS X with no 3rd party apps required! woo hoo! Revamped Finder - There are some nice updates here. And I am glad to see the changes to the open/save dialog boxes as well. The developer of Path Finder must have the Panther beta or seen these screen shots because the new beta of Path Finder 2.1.5 has similar functionality with the new left pane of the Finder. I just wonder if the new Finder is any faster? I saw Folder Actions are back. Here is another OS 9 feature that should have came "out of the box" in 10.0. (Folder Actions allow you to attatch AppleScripts to folders.) Preview - Its about time. Finally you can search in a PDF. Making it "faster then Acrobat Reader" has that because we can moxi to it as well. The other improvements shown off are nice, but they did not really make me say wow. Faxing? Sure if you need it, thats nice that its there. Mail - nice improvements but lets not get too cocky, the Baysian filtering added in 10.2 is the best feature yet. So they are finally using named in the address book like they should have from the start. iDisk - I don't use it but the new sync feature sounds like a nice feature. iChat AV - I don't have a video camera, but now Apple wants to sell me one, the iSight. FileVault - ever hear of PGP? Although this is yet another feature that was in OS 9.1, the ability to encrypt and decrypt documents. All in all 10.3 sounds like another solid upgrade that SHOULD NOT cost me $129 AGAIN. But please! How many new features in 10.3, just like the new features in 10.2 were leftovers from the OS 9 days. It doesn't matter, I will get the 10.3 upgrade the minute it comes out. These new features sure look nice.

June 23, 2003

Panther (Mac OS 10.3) Screen shots?

Some are saying they are fake, some are saying they are real. Check them out. Special thanks to SPeedY_B for the link!



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